My girls joined on this trip, eager to help Daddy ring in his 46th birthday with cupcakes at every possible meal. Sophie, now 8 years old, is our bookworm, citing weird-but-true facts at every corner and greeting every dog with breed specific historical highlights. Quinn, now 4, is a whirlwind of laughter and drama, equally adept at eliciting smiles and ruining romantic meals in any public forum. I splurged for a room at the Cypress Inn, the Doris Day-owned hotel that is dog headquarters for Carmel, knowing they would relish a hotel where runners and dogs are at every turn, and Mommy can enjoy a daily complimentary glass of champagne. By race morning, I easily packed on a delicious and worthy extra 2-3 pounds. It’s not the hills that slow your Big Sur times, it’s the curves!
|(Quinn helps me pick dessert of the day at The Forge In The Forest)|
|(Bart Yasso, didn't I just see you in Boston?)|
|(The color guard sets us up)|
|(Hangin' with the cool kids!)|
|(Michael Wardian and Adam Roach step up to the start)|
|(Here we come!)|
As the gun went off at 6:45am, we sailed down the first couple of miles of downhill and quickly found a headwind coming off the coast. This headwind, it turns out, would be strong and present for the NEXT 18 MILES. And we thought Boston was bad! Luckily I found a group of runners around the lead women to work with, and we plowed our way through to Hurricane Hill (mile 11) on a 6:45 min/mile pace. About half of the pack were first time Big Sur competitors, smiling at the enormous views that open up at every corner, and yelling their enthusiasm back through the wind to the rest of us. This truly is a magical place that brings out the child in all of us.
|(All downhill to start)|
|(Working with my pack)|
|(The safety cycle leads us up to Hurricane Hill)|
|(The amazing Bixby Bridge)|
|(Making our way up Hurricane)|
|(Bixby Bridge at Mile 12)|
|(Uh, oh...too much cake)|
|(That view never gets old!)|
|(There's that finish line!)|
|(Phew! Another fun double)|
As I settled in at Carmel Beach, barefoot and beer-clad in the sand with my girls dancing around me, I marveled at my blessings. I had always suspected that the 40’s could be the best years of one’s life. The 20’s are just too confusing, drowning in a need for purpose that can’t be filled with anything but experience; something you don’t understand until you are in your 30’s and already worried that the easy path has passed. But in your 40’s you chill out, revel in the simplicity of your passions, young enough to breath the ocean air deeply, and old enough to appreciate its rarity. Yeah, 46 years old feels pretty damn awesome.
My thanks to the incredible race directors, volunteers, and fellow runners of Big Sur. Congrats on making the 30th year a classic, and I hope to see you again! SD